Data and (Dis)obedience Conference in Boston

Data and (Dis)Obedience Conference at Northeastern

On 15 March I’ll be on a panel at the Data and (Dis)Obedience Conference at Northeastern University, talking about artistic approaches to data surveillance. Keynote is by Marek Tuszynski from Tactical Tech. Conference is organized by Jen Gradecki, and is being streamed online if you’re not in Boston. Register here.

Workshop on Imagining Alternative Social Media Designs at Harvard

Workshop at Berkman Klein Harvard

I’m running this hybrid workshop at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard on March 23, framing and guiding some collective thinking on social media alternatives to the status quo. If you’re interested, please join! You can get all the details here.

Recent Books Discussing my Projects

Books by Mulgan, Ganyet, and Sicart

Recent books discussing my projects include:

Thanks to Miguel for sending a copy of his book, as I can’t wait to read it! I’ve got the Mulgan on order. Sadly I can’t read the Ganyet as I can’t read Spanish, but hopefully an English translation is in the works.

CBC Interview as Part of Spark Retrospective

CBC Radio (Canada) featured me in the opening segment of its recent 16-year retrospective of the tech/culture show Spark, looking back at interviewees who had been “eerily predictive” about the future of social media, algorithms, etc. Other replayed guests included Zeynep Tufecki and Evegeny Morozov. Turns out this aired on Jan 1, 2023, but I just learned of it recently.

The segment starts after the intro — listen here.

Presentation and Dialogue as part of We Are Not Sick at REDCAT in Los Angeles

Geert Lovink will be performing his work We Are Not Sick at REDCAT in Los Angeles. I’m excited to be a part of the event, giving a short presentation on my own platform resistance projects and then moderating a dialogue with Geert after. We Are Not Sick is a real-time multimedia lecture/performance version of Geert’s book Sad by Design, bringing spoken word, music, and image together in a reflection on the sadness-inducing states of today’s big social platforms.

This event is the closing event of a day-long symposium called Staying on the Grid: Platforms, Psyches, and Paths, whose panels include scholar Dr Sarah T Roberts and artist Lauren McCarthy, both UCLA profs.

Platform Sweet Talk at Near Now in Nottingham

Platform Sweet Talk installed at Near Now in Nottingham

My work Platform Sweet Talk is currently installed at Near Now in Nottingham, England. The show is part of a series of exhibitions that make up Privacy Techtonics, a exhibition that features myself, Tara Kelton, Forensic Architecture, Yuri Pattison, Libby Heaney, Joey Holder, and James Bridle.

I also sat down with Lipika Kamra and Philippa Williams of Otoka to talk about the exhibition and social media and privacy more widely.

Books by Lovink, Terranova, and Brubaker That Discuss My Projects

Books by Lovink, Terranova, Brubaker

I’m happy to share a new batch of recent books that discuss my projects:

Geert Lovink’s book is only recently out in the US, though it’s been available in Europe for a while. Brubaker just came out and the Terranova volume is due out shortly (at least in the US). I’ve already read Geert’s book and it’s fabulous—highly recommended. I’ve been reading and citing Terranova since I started reading in media studies so am excited to read this collection. I don’t know Brubaker’s work but the book sounds fabulous.

Fellowship at Harvard University for 2022-23

Institute for Rebooting Social Media, Berkman Klein Center, Harvard University

This year I’ll be a fellow at Harvard University with the Institute for Rebooting Social Media at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. I’m looking forward to expanding my artistic efforts to decouple online sociality from big social media’s drive for endless growth, using my finite social network Minus as a subject for study and vehicle for future experiments.

The fellowship is hybrid (some on-site, some remote), so I’ll be back and forth between Urbana and Cambridge during the year.

Here’s the announcement.

Tokenize This in The Byzantine Generals Problem at

The Byzantine Generals Problem at

My work Tokenize This is part of The Byzantine Generals Problem at Curated by Domenico Quaranta and produced by Aksioma, it’s an online exhibition focused on artworks which, while not avoiding to engage with blockchains and crypto culture, do so in a critically constructive way: questioning dominant narratives, raising problems, and sometimes proposing alternative solutions.

Here’s Domenico writing about Tokenize This in his curatorial essay:

If artworks have often been instrumental to speculative drives, this has never been the case for born-digital art, which didn’t resist commodification (especially in the form of post-digital derivatives) but was rarely perceived as a speculative investment. Before the advent of blockchains and smart contracts, the only digital asset equipped with scarcity was the domain name, which sometimes acquired economic value because of its inherent qualities (short, effective, easy to remember) or its accumulated attention and incoming links rather than its content. Artists working with digital media acknowledged the challenge they were presenting to cultural markets and their intrinsic resistance to market logic, and often found in it and in the freedom it allowed the raison d’etre of their entire practice. Tokenize This (2020) by Ben Grosser is an explicit call to the net art community to not forget that freedom. Released at the height of the NFT craze, Tokenize This is a net art work that generates uniqueness while resisting commodification. Upon each new visit, the site produces a “unique digital object” that includes a custom colour gradient and guaranteed exclusive identification code, all referenced by a matching URL. What makes Tokenize This different from the typical website whose URLs act as persistent indexes for a page and its contents is that it destroys each page right after its creation. While the original visitor can view the unique digital object for as long as they leave their browser tab open, any subsequent attempt to copy, share or view that URL in another tab, browser or system leads to a “404 Not Found” error. In other words, Tokenize This generates countless digital artifacts that can only be viewed or accessed once. The work acts in opposition to the capitalist ideologies embedded in NFTs and the ways in which NFT markets have already thrust an often anti-capitalist and anti-corporate art medium into a 21st-century gold rush get-rich-quick kind of frenzy.

You can watch the opening event with the curator:

Artists in the show include Anna Ridler, Ben Grosser, Constant Dullaart, DIS, Face or Factory, Kyle McDonald, LaTurbo Avedon, Moxie Marlinspike, Nascent, Rhea Myers, Sarah Friend, Sarah Meyohas, Simon Denny / Guile Twardowski / Cosmographia, Sterling Crispin, and The Miha Artnak. It is on view indefinitely.

Artist Talk at Cukrarna in Ljubljana

As part of the public events with my exhibition Software for Less at Aksioma, I gave an artist talk titled Less Metrics, More Rando: Techniques of Resistance in a Platform World.